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Visions of Home

Dad’s funeral was nice. It was what Dad would have wanted. It was also a major milestone. It was the first funeral attended by my kids since the one for their Mom. They’ve had other opportunities, for lack of a better term, but were never strong enough to attend, until now. They came to Dad’s though and although they admitted to me that it wasn’t easy, they did great.

My niece and nephew also attended. These are the children of my brother who died 11 months ago. This was their first new funeral as well. They too admitted how hard it was, yet my niece spoke during the service and my nephew (along with my son) served as a pall bearer. I’m extremely proud of them all.

For much of the weekend I’ve vacillated between having this task I needed to accomplish and feeling my grief.  Now back at home, mostly what I feel is tired… and alone. My wife, brother and father are gone. The world seems emptier. I recognize this as my grief talking and know from experience to respect it, not fight it; eat, pray, exercise, write, read my Bible, try to sleep, do the basics, cut myself some slack.

Continuing plans to hold an event for the nursing home staff. Right after Dad’s death, I brought a card to the center thanking them for their support of my family and included a nice photo of Dad from when he was healthier. The card was quickly passed around to everyone and several made personal copies of the photo. They are grieving as well.

Mom is largely unaffected. She’s lost a little weight but her appetite is good. I’ve had her moved to a smaller, single person room. Just looking at her rattling around in her old room broke my heart. The new room will be an improvement. It’ll take a month or so for her to recognize the new room as hers but that’s ok.

When I first placed Mom (and Dad) in a facility, Mom almost immediately began this refrain, “…I’m ready to go home now.” It was incredibly difficult to hear but mitigated by the knowledge that Mom used to say the same thing when she was still at home. No matter where she was, she always felt that she needed to go somewhere else. The current litany had only a little to do with being in a nursing home and more to do with an innate desire to travel.

The past few months, I’ve noticed that when Mom talks of home, she often mentions the people who are there that she “needs” to see. Almost all of them are deceased. I’m beginning to think that “home” is less the house where she used to live and more the place where her loved ones are.

Yesterday, for the first time, Mom included my Dad on the list of people she needed to see. She even turned away me from at one point to ask Dad a question, then paused as if listening to the answer. When I asked her where was Dad, she said, “helping Mama and Daddy (her parents) at home.”

Everyday my Mom tells me she’s ready to go home. I used to quickly redirect her. Yesterday I squeezed her hand and said, “I know. You’ll go soon enough. How about we hangout together a bit first.” She smiled.

About Jo

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6 comments

  1. Wao very touching story may God bless ya and guide ya in everything I lost my husband 8months ago and it still feels like yesterday today I live with faith n strength thanks to God trying to stay strong for my kids

  2. Avatar of Denise

    Ah, Jo, you have such an amazing ability to be present in the lives of your loved ones. It’s really amazing. It sounds like the service was lovely and you’ll have a beautiful one for the staff.

    I just love the answer you used with your mom about home.

    As Jessica said, such a very, very touching post. Thank you.

  3. I feel like I am reading my own story about my Mom. After my Dad died we had the same conversations. She also spoke of all her siblings that passed, her friends and her parents. I just buried her a month ago…5 months after my Dad passed. I know she is with him now and happy, that gives me great peace of mind and lightens my heart. I am sorry for all your losses. I know people say it will get easier with time, but it still hurts.
    I am now watching my mother-in-law on a trachea, feeding tube, and pacemaker, praying that she will pull through. Nobody prepares you for this!

  4. Jo, I echo the others in telling you what a lovely post this is. You have been through so much but have such an amazing and peaceful attitude. It can’t be easy to maintain but I hope when you have your rough patches and need strength from others, you know you have it from your friends here. Big hugs to you and your family. Sending peace and comfort to you as well.

  5. Avatar of ejourneys

    Jo, I have the feeling you are just where you need to be, doing just what you need to do. You are doing much more than cutting yourself slack — you are doing what needs doing and saying what needs saying. Bless you for that. Bless your family for how they have come together. Like Trish, I’m sending big hugs, peace, and comfort to you and yours.

  6. Avatar of

    Hi Jo,

    You are so wise to “respect” the grief. Somehow in the respecting comes the ability to allow, not push it away. I’m learning its’ importance – thank you for affirming that (:

    I love how you paused with your mom. That pause gave the connection that your mom (and you) so needed.

    Thinking of you and your family. Your strength is passed daily to your kids – it will remain with them for a lifetime.

    Thank you for sharing your family here with us.

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